The Oklahoma state standing committee has passed a bill number SB 512 last week. This is basically a proposed motor vehicle act that prohibits automakers from selling their vehicles directly to their customers. If passed, by the House of Representatives, Tesla will be the prime victim of this bill (full PDF of the amended bill below).
The SB 512 bill does not just prohibit Tesla from selling its vehicles directly to its customers, it also stops the automaker from sending over-the-air (OTA) software updates to its customer cars in the state of Oklahoma.
Given this situation’s possible outcome for Tesla and its customers in Oklahoma, the automaker has started sending emails to Tesla vehicle owners and enthusiasts to oppose the bill. A similar bill HB 3994 was brought forward last month but due to public opposition, it was dismissed.
But with more or less the same agenda, the new SB 512 bill is brought forward, to hold Tesla from making direct sales and OTA updates in Oklahoma. Here’s the email in its entirety that Tesla has been sending to get public support to reverse this bill:
Last month, we informed you about HB 3994, a detrimental bill proposed in the Oklahoma State Legislature. With your help, we were successful in stopping HB 3994, but unfortunately, most of that same language has been amended to another bill.
Senate Bill 512 is new legislation that passed out of committee last week and will now go before the full House of Representatives for a vote.
Just like HB 3994, SB 512 could be interpreted as forcing Tela to close our service center and gallery locations and Oklahoma, as well as prohibiting Tesla from offering over-the-air software updates to your vehicle. Tesla locations bring jobs and revenue to the state while serving the needs of our current and future Oklahoma vehicle owners.
Tell your State Representative that you oppose SB 512. Let them know that residents of Oklahoma deserve to have their EVs serviced within their home state.Posted on r/TeslaMotors by u/Strong_Rub_1831
Although the draft of this bill (pdf below) does not specifically mention Tesla anywhere since it’s the only motor vehicle company with direct sales and OTA updates in Oklahoma, Tesla is directly affected by it if it passes.
By reading the SB 512 bill it appears that the senators of Oklahoma are very much concerned about the jobs being lost due to the car dealerships being eliminated between an automotive manufacturer and the end customer. But Tesla specifically mentions in the email that its stores and service centers do provide employment in the state.
This bill also proposes vehicle software updates be carried out by trained staff at a car dealership. In the case of Tesla, these updates are automatically installed via the Tesla mothership computer in California. Tesla cars do not require a manual software update in most cases unless there is a technical issue which is of course handled by staff at a local service center owned by Tesla.
But senators from Oklahoma do not seem to be convinced. This is why they brought a new bill after dropping one just last month.
Tesla has already set up a community page on its Engage online platform to gather support in opposing the SB 512 bill. Our follower and friend Gail Alfar among many other Tesla owners have also recorded their concern with the state of Oklahoma, although she belongs to Texas.
You can also record your concern by the methods provided by Tesla on its Engage website here.